In Fact, It Is Better to Roast This Duck Instead of the Turkey.

The initial idea was breathtaking: we had grandiose visions of underrated birds coaxing the hind limbs of other underrated birds. We called it Gooduckail: quail stuffed with duck stuffed with goose. It took 53 text messages to get there, and it wasn’t until we realized we were going to be two omnivores in a vegan coven that we agreed that 38 pounds of meat was probably too much. We flew too close to the sun.

“What if we just make a duck?” – asked my fellow meat-eater.

“What if we did…. two ducks ? “

“I guess that would be twice as good.

And readers, it was. Over the course of my life, I’ve created countless turkeys that could grace the cover of Martha Stuart Living. I brined, salted, smoked, fried and watered, and on one occasion I walked the streets of Rome desperately begging any butcher to make at least one bloody tacchino for my Italian friends so they could appreciate American traditional colonialism. But after all, it was always a turkey – a poor quality bird at best.

“Fuck it,” I say. Make a duck instead.

A duck is not a difficult bird if you don’t. If you have a 23 step turkey plan, then you will find a way to complicate the duck. But not necessarily.

Step 1. Buy a duck.

Step 2: Spice it up.

Step 3: fry.

The ducks are smaller so they don’t need to feed the crowd. You will still get a beautiful bird on the table. What’s more, you won’t miss out on mashed potatoes with these duck-fried legs.

And this is the real gimmick of this recipe: instead of fiddling with raised grates, etc., we use potatoes as a grate , letting the duck fat drain down and cook the potatoes.

Roast duck in cherry glaze and fried potatoes with duck fat


  • 1 duck 5-6 pounds
  • 6-8 golden yukon potatoes
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 5 tablespoons of Chinese five spices
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • Paper towels
  • 1 lb cherry (can be frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Fresh duck can be obtained at this time of year, but if frozen, defrost it in the same way as chicken or turkey. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the sink overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Pat the duck inside and out with paper towels.

And now the potatoes. Wash them and then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper, then place in a serving dish. The more carefully you do this, the more the potatoes will fit. You want some more potatoes. Set aside the dish while you cook the duck.

Use a very sharp knife to do the hardest part of the performance: make a few cuts in the skin of the duck, but NOT in the meat. Start with an easy entry and add pressure until you pass through the skin. You don’t have to be artistic – these slots are for fat removal, not aesthetics – but you can follow the drawing in the photos. In most cases, you just want to ensure good coverage with these slots.

It’s time to spice up this impressive piece. In this case, I really like the combination of the Chinese five spices and cherry, which we will add later. Season it liberally with salt, pepper and five spices, rubbing them into the skin and inside of the bird.

We’re going to make this thing cook a little more efficiently by making it less rough (not in a word, but you get the idea), because by condensing the mass into a denser piece of meat, it cooks more evenly. You can do it in all sorts of ways, Trussing it with butcher’s twine, using toothpicks, etc. I have always loved these doohickeys used to lace up the cavities while securing the legs. In doing so, break the “shoulder” between the bird and the wings. (You don’t take it off, you just unplug it.)

Place the poultry on top of the potatoes, breast side up. Tuck the wings under the bird, it should be easy because you have broken that joint.

It’s time to bake! Two hours 350 ℉.

While cooking, let’s make the icing. Place the cherries in a saucepan on the stove top. Raise heat to medium and add molasses, soy sauce and vinegar. Let the mixture simmer, but with constant stirring, you need to simmer, not until boiling. Let it simmer, continuing to stir for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it stand.

When the two hours are up and your duck is at least 170 ℉ on your thigh, paint the duck with frosting (I use a silicone brush and this is one of my favorite kitchen tools because you can peel it) and then cook for 10 more minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and let the duck sit for 15 minutes. If you want crispier potatoes, you can (carefully) remove the duck from the pan and place it on a cutting board, then return the potato dish to the oven under the broiler for five minutes to become crispy (just make sure you watch closely) … However, they are delicious even without this step. Serve the rest of the frosting as a sauce, mixed with the drips in a skillet, or separately.

You can complement this combination with other combinations of fruits and spices – peach and cinnamon sauce, allspice and nutmeg; smoked peppers, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and dry mustard with mango; blackberries and hoisin with salt, pepper and caraway seeds. Your sauce just needs fruit, sweetener, and vinegar to balance it all. Try something. Find what you like. Regardless of what fruit or spice you use, I think you will find that you like duck more than turkey.


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